Non League Daily

Saints bound Fleming proud of Trawlermen achievements

As a former Premier League player Craig Fleming may have thought his time working amongst English footballs elite and been and gone. However that is all about to change.

However the Lowestoft Town Director of Football will soon be working with, what he hopes will be the next Gareth Bale or Theo Walcott.

The former Oldham Athletic defender recently announced he would be moving to Southampton, after being offered the chance to working within the Saints academy. Fleming admitted that, despite having to leave the Trawlermen, he would go with a sense of pride at what the club had achieved in his time there.

"The overwhelming feeling is one of pride. We achieved a lot at the club and getting to the First Round of the FA Cup was right up there. I am sad to leave and I have so many lifelong friends at the club, there is a tight knit group of people there working hard and I hope to see them stay in the league because it would be an incredible achievement if they can, especially given the amount of travelling the players do"

The move to Southampton sees Fleming working within an academy system that has produced a number of top class professional players, including the likes of Luke Shaw and James Ward-Prowse, the latter now a key part of Ronald Koeman's side as they challenge for a Champions League spot.

Fleming knows that he faces a big learning process as he prepares to begin life with the Saints but has confidence that his past experience working in the academies at Manchester United and Norwich City will stand him in good stead.

"We brought a few youngsters through and some have gone on to play in the professional game, which is fantastic for the club and obviously the players themselves. I have worked in the academy at Manchester United when I was a player at Oldham Athletic and when I was at Norwich City I worked with their academy too. It is an exciting move for me and it will be a learning process to test my coaching skills"

The move to Southampton has, according to Fleming, been in the pipeline for a couple of months when the Saints made initial contact with him. After visiting the academy setup on the South Coast he couldn't help but be impressed with one of the most prolific academies in the country.

"I got a call a couple of months ago and went down to visit the club a few times. It is a great club, with a great record of producing players. I was offered the chance to go there and work in the academy and I am looking forward to getting started. Having been down there I can see why they produce so many good players, as the whole set-up and thoroughness is incredible"

Fleming did have a simple message for everyone at Lowestoft Town as he prepares to depart the club. The Trawlermen currently sit in fourteenth position in the Vanarama Conference North table and look to be safe from relegation. That comes off the off a six year spell where the Suffolk club have won two league titles, three promotions, two Suffolk Premier Cups and as mentioned earlier reached the First Round of the FA Cup.

The departing Fleming admitted it had been a tough season and that the club had felt the rise in standards as had moved up the lead pyramid but he urged the Town supporters to "stick together and continue to be proud of their club".

"I would ask the supporters to stick together and continue to be proud of their club. We have risen through the leagues and it is getting tougher for everyone because the standard and the travelling increases. However, it is a great club with hardworking people at its heart and I know they will all stick together"

Photo: Lowestoft Town FC

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